Why we don't see more Islamic reform, and more sincere Islamic reformers, chapter 182932: "Saudi Arabia’s Own ‘Salman Rushdie’ Arrested For Mohammad Tweets," by Angelo Young for International Business Times, December 25 (thanks to all who sent this in):
It was bound to happen eventually.
Novelist Turki Al Hamad is in detention for recent controversial Twitter posts. In 2000 Al Hamad faced a situation similar to author Salman Rushdie. He wrote a fictional trilogy that led to fataws and death threats. The government subsequently offered him protection. The author defiantly remained in Saudi Arabia, but on Monday his luck and his words caught up with him.
Novelist Turki al-Hamad, 58, one of Saudi Arabia’s more unapologetic and outspoken liberal voices, is now in custody for a series of posts he published on his Twitter last weekend comparing fundamentalist Islamist ideology and its strict social controls to Nazism and suggesting that political Islamists like those allied with Saudi Arabia’s royal family have taken their adulation of Prophet Muhammad too far.
This is dangerous language in a country where apostasy is a capital offense, especially in Saudi Arabia’s non-codified justice system that doesn’t follow judicial precedent and instead allows judges to interpret guilt as they see fit based on Islamic doctrine. Hamad’s arrest on Monday came only a week after a hearing in a website editor’s blasphemy case was referred to a higher court based on an April 2011 royal decree aimed at cracking down on electronic communications that insult Islam.
The Twitter post that most riled the kingdom’s formidable conservative religious establishment and Ministry of Information was this one, written in Arabic: “Our Prophet had come to rectify the faith of Abraham, and now is a time when we need someone to rectify the faith of Muhammad.”
That is a shocking statement to those who believe the Prophet received Allah's perfect and final revelation.
By suggesting the Saudi religious authorities are guilty of the very thing they believe they are defending against, and that this needs to be “rectified,” Hamad’s criticism was viewed as an assault on Islam itself and a direct challenge to state defenders of the faith.
On Monday Hamad was taken into custody by order of the Interior Ministry, Gulf News reported. While he isn’t likely to be executed for apostasy – there hasn’t been a recorded Saudi execution for blasphemy in modern times – he could suffer the same fate as others who have been detained in Saudi Arabia on violations of accepted speech.
Hamad joins Raif Badawi, a 30-year-old website editor from the port city of Jeddah, who is facing apostasy charges for insulting Islam through a website he ran called “Free Saudi Liberals” that allowed users to openly discuss the difference between “popular” and “politicized” Islam....